Information lockdown: govt won't reveal end to restrictions

 

Millions of Greater Brisbane residents face an extension to the tough lockdown with the government refusing to commit to lifting restrictions today even if the state records another 24 hours with no new cases.

Two days of zero cases and widespread compliance with the lockdown has not been enough for Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and Chief Health Officer Jeanette Young to declare the mutant COVID-19 strain defeated, with both yet to tell Queenslanders whether their hard work will pay off.

More than 2 million Greater Brisbane residents will this morning learn if they will emerge from the snap three-day lockdown as an "anxious" Ms Palaszczuk on Sunday refused to be drawn on whether another day of zero cases would herald its end.

Empty Edward Street during three day COVID-19 lockdown of Brisbane, Sunday, January 10, 2021 - Picture: Richard Walker
Empty Edward Street during three day COVID-19 lockdown of Brisbane, Sunday, January 10, 2021 - Picture: Richard Walker

Dr Young also said it remained too early to discuss lifting the lockdown as planned, saying Monday's statistics would determine whether it was safe.

"Let's get the numbers and work out what we're doing," she said.

Queensland Health and Ms Palaszczuk did not detail what variables would be considered before a decision on whether to lift the lockdown was made.

"Queensland Health has a range of options underway, and once we know how today has gone with case numbers, we can enact one of the options to continue to protect Queenslanders," a Health spokeswoman said.

Brisbane, Moreton, Ipswich, Redlands and Logan is due to emerge from the snap lockdown at 6pm Monday, however even if it is lifted residents face a slow return to life as normal.

Ms Palaszczuk on Sunday hinted at "proposed steps" out of lockdown, but she nor Queensland Health explained what those steps might include.

"This is a world first, what we're doing," she said.

"It's the right thing to do and let's see what our numbers are."

An empty Southbank beach during the second day of COVID-19 lockdown in Brisbane. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Dan Peled
An empty Southbank beach during the second day of COVID-19 lockdown in Brisbane. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Dan Peled

The Premier declared Brisbane's response was "so far, so good", with 147 close contacts of the cleaner who tested positive for the mutant UK strain after working in hotel quarantine at the Hotel Grand Chancellor in inner-city Brisbane identified and 112 of them testing negative.

The remaining contacts have been tested but results have not yet come through.

Dr Young said she had "no idea" how many other people could have come into contact with the woman while she was positive in the community.

"I do not know how many people attend Woolworths in a certain time frame," Dr Young said.

It comes as Queenslanders respond "in droves" to the call for testing, with more than 19,000 completed in the 24 hours to Sunday morning.

While businesses have backed the lockdown, some fear it will be extended even if Queensland records zero new cases on Monday.

Queensland Tourism Industry Council CEO Daniel Gschwind said thousands of tourism businesses had their "finger's crossed" the lockdown would be lifted.

Tourism QLD CEO Daniel Gschwind addressing media. News Corp/Attila Csaszar
Tourism QLD CEO Daniel Gschwind addressing media. News Corp/Attila Csaszar

"We're all suffering already, it's just the reality that more and more of those support measures from the federal government are gradually disappearing," he said.

"It's a great deal of uncertainty ahead of us and accumulating worries for the industry."

Any extension to the lockdown could put pressure on Friday's Gabba test, which the Indian Cricket Team already have concerns about playing.

Businesses hope Ms Palaszczuk will follow the lead of South Australian Premier Steven Marshall, who in November ended his state's tough lockdown three days ahead of schedule following no community cases and updated health information.

CCIQ Policy and Advocacy General Manager Amanda Rohan said the southeast faced a significant economic and confidence hit should the restrictions continue.

"No one wants this lockdown to continue for a second longer than required, and businesses certainly cannot afford it to," she said.

A closed playground at Southbank during the second day of COVID-19 lockdown in Brisbane. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Dan Peled
A closed playground at Southbank during the second day of COVID-19 lockdown in Brisbane. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Dan Peled

"What's most important is for businesses to know what they will be doing tomorrow, as soon as possible.

"If there are any changes to restrictions or requirements for any business, it needs to be communicated as soon as possible. "

Ms Palaszczuk acknowledged she was "very anxious" on Friday morning but said Queensland's world-first response had stood the state well.

"Finger's crossed we'll come out of this," she said.

Queensland Police Deputy Commissioner Steve Gollschewski said compliance with lockdown restrictions "has been exemplary".

However, he revealed a small party at a New Farm home had to be broken up by police on Saturday for breaching Dr Young's directive of having no more than two visitors.

"People didn't take the right approach and police were left with no action but to take action," he said.

Queensland Chief Health Officer Dr Jeanette Young is seen during a press conference to provide a COVID-19 update. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Dan Peled
Queensland Chief Health Officer Dr Jeanette Young is seen during a press conference to provide a COVID-19 update. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Dan Peled

 

Queensland Police have handed out 700 masks and issued a "remarkably low" 15 infringements in the 24 hours to Sunday morning - bringing the total to 21 since Friday night.

On the M1, 150 vehicles were stopped and only four turned around.

It comes as Hotel Grand Chancellor employees reveal toll the situation has had on their mental health after a cleaner tested positive to the mutant UK strain.

One worker, Samantha Willis, said she had been inundated with messages and advice about the situation from friends.

"My co-workers and I are being bombarded and don't need your concerns on top of our own," she wrote.

"Our employer and Queensland Health are working hard to keep on top of it."

 

Originally published as Information lockdown as govt refuses to reveal end to restrictions



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